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Tatnuck Square Business Owners Sound Off During Mayor’s Walk

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

 

Mayor Joseph Petty hit the pavement with City Councilor Bill Eddy and State Rep. John Mahoney on Tuesday to hear from local business owners in the Tatnuck Square area.

The visit to Chandler and Pleasant Streets was the second in Petty's series of "Mayor's Walks" in neighborhoods throughout Worcester.

"These walks give me and the other elected officials the chance to meet the people we serve on their turf and allow us to hear their concerns firsthand, work to solve problems quickly, and gather suggestions on how we can serve our residents and businesses better,” Mayor Petty said.

Representatives from the Worcester Police Department, Department of Public Works, Inspectional Services and Economic Development joined the elected officials as they stopped in and spoke with merchants up and down the block.

Business Is Good In Tatnuck Square

School Committee Vice Chair Tracy Novick lives in the Tatnuck Square area and said the large number of local businesses help the neighborhood thrive.

There were very few vacant storefronts in the neighborhood, and the one concern that all the Tatnuck stakeholders seemed to share was finding a replacement for the recently closed Friendly's on Chandler Street.

"It's helpful to be within walking distance of everything," she said.

"People actually run to the hardware store on the corner."

Around the corner, officials paid a visit to Mel Katz, whose new business Tat-Nooks, a gallery of small shops near the corner of Chandler and Pleasant, is preparing to open.

"Tatnuck is probably one of the better rental areas, one of the better retail areas," Katz said.

Tat-Nooks will be home to 11 small stall-type stores, with a canning shop that offers classes located in the rear of the building.

Katz said the vendors that will be occupying Tat-Nooks are all local merchants peddling everything from homemade wares and crafts to antiques.

Parking and Traffic Woes

While there is no shortage of customers for businesses in Tatnuck, there is a shortage of places for them to park their cars.

"The real problem in the area for retailers is parking," Katz said.

"There's not much space [for parking]," Mayor Petty said, but he added that the city is looking into acquiring land in the area to be converted to public lots.

Councilor Eddy said Tatnuck Square has three very difficult intersections that make travel through the area difficult at peak hours.

"These roads were never built for this kind of traffic," he said.

New traffic lights have been installed to ease some of the congestion, but officials are still searching for a viable long-term solution.

"We're going to have to be creative up here," said Eddy.

Education Key to Neighborhood's Success

Worcester State University is another element of the Tatnuck Square ecosystem, and representatives were on hand to discuss ways to strengthen the school's bond with the city.

"This neighborhood represents a key point where the campus meets the community," said Carl Herrin, WSU's Assistant to the President for International, Community and Government Affairs.

Only 30 percent of WSU students live on campus, Herrin said, and the other 70 percent are woven into the fabric of the community alongside lifetime residents.

"We're eager to have that relationship be as positive as possible," Herrin said, noting that the university is home to its own neighborhood advisory council and has hosted several cleanup days where students help out around the area.

According to Rep. Mahoney, all levels of education have played an integral role in the success of Tatnuck Square.

"This is a strong middle-class neighborhood," Mahoney said, pointing to the high caliber of the area's public schools as a contributing factor. 

 

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